Seasonal focus for tasty showcase

A CLOUD of tantalising aromas has settled over the Great Southern.

It’s the aftermath of the Porongurup Wine Festival and a preview of what’s to come on the IGA Taste Great Southern agenda.

So, get your palates cleansed and your best wine glass out, because the masters of food and beverage are coming and you don’t want to miss out.

The IGA Taste Great Southern festival officially began on the weekend, but not to worry; there is still plenty on the menu for you to try.

Demonstrations from the likes of Marco Pierre White, Justine Schofield, Anna Gare and Chandra Yudasswara will take the event to a new level, as the event calendar already includes long table dinners, food and wine festivals, cook-offs and banquets right across the Great Southern.

Event coordinator, Richard Campbell, of CMS Events, said the thing he loves most about the festival and its location is its seasonality.

“I genuinely believe the Great Southern has the best produce in the state,” he said.

“There’s world-class wine and high-quality produce.”

Mr Campbell revealed the In The Raw event for March 11 had a slight change of plan after one of the selected produce became unavailable due to the season ending.

“We’ve brought in marron instead,” he said.

“At first, I was a bit disappointed, but that’s the beauty of the whole thing – we are keeping with what’s in season.”

However, Mr Campbell remained tight-lipped on the much-anticipated Secret Affair Journey dinner planned for March 22.

“It’s a great location,” he said.

“The presentation will be quite different; we are telling people to roll up their sleeves for a night out.

“It’s going to be fantastic.”

Mr Campbell encouraged people to join in the festival and try something different.

“There’s a natural, unique attraction to the South Coast; people know they will be spoiled,” he said.

“We do have a few events already sold out, so people need to make sure they book in as soon as they can.”

You can view the full event schedule and ticket costs at

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The stuff of dreams

FOR some young boys and girls, their first introduction to the timeless tale The Nutcracker was the 2001 animated film Barbie in the Nutcracker.

The graceful tones of Tchaikovsky’s score and the twirling story of the sugarplum fairy soon became the backdrop of dreams and bedtime stories, and meant The Nutcracker remained in the hearts of children well into their adulthood.

For those wanting to relive the magical journey of Clara and the Nutcracker, Moscow Ballet ‘La Classique’ will bring the story to life on March 18 at the Albany Entertainment Centre.

The Nutcracker follows protagonist Clara on Christmas Eve, who is gifted a nutcracker doll that comes to life when the clock strikes midnight.

The young girl is then whisked away to the magical land of the sugarplum fairy, where she must help defeat the evil mouse king.

Often the choice for the traditional Christmas Eve movie and a popular theatre production across the decades and across all generations, The Nutcracker on an Albany stage should be a night to remember.

Tickets for the March 18 performance are on sale now and can be booked online via Ticketek or by calling the AEC Box Office on 9844 5005 or 1300 795 012.

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Skids and spools at Racewars

DESPITE mixed conditions for racing at the second annual Racewars event, more than 500 drivers and their cars descended on the Albany Airport over the long weekend.

With a mixed showing of Japanese imports, supercars, American muscle and Australia classics, crowds were wowed with displays of speed and the sound of spooled-up turbos.

Racewars veteran Ed Tassone came out on top of the event with a mind-blowing 334.9km/h registered in his 2006 HSV GTO.

Current Australian outright land speed record holder Rosco McGlashan and his 1.2 tonne Banshee J34 Westinghouse jet dragster also made an appearance over the weekend.

To finish off the weekend racers and spectators filled the White Star Hotel for an awards ceremony and to burn off some steam before heading home.

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Woolies reward sticks

COLLECTING stickers after their grocery shopping has paid off for students at Flinders Park Primary and Bethel Christian School, with a plethora of new educational games and resources turning up on their doorsteps last week.

The Woolworths Earn and Learn program rewards every $10 of grocery shopping with a sticker, and these stickers, once all collected by each individual school, are combined to earn schools new educational resources and equipment.

Bethel Christian School received their goodies last Wednesday and received Pretend and Play, mathematics and developmental resources, as well as stationery equipment.

Flinders Park Primary received theirs last Thursday, and the pressie list includes outside and active, mathematics and cultural resources, games and stationery.

Woolworths Bayonet Head store manager Stacey Seymour said she was absolutely delighted to present the array of resources to the students.

“To get out into the community and make a difference is great,” she said.

“We already have a great relationship with Flinders Park, so it’s an added bonus to support the school in this way.”

Principal Richard Bushell said the school was grateful for the new resources, and said they provided a great opportunity to enhance the school’s Teaching and Learning program.

The top five resource categories redeemed in WA via the Woolworths Earn and Learn program were ICT, sport, construction, mathematics and science.

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Pooches permitted

A WOODANILLING householder will be permitted to keep six chihuahuas after he allegedly needed reminding to apply to keep more than two.

On January 15, Woodanilling shire wrote to Mr J. James requesting that he register any unregistered dogs kept on his Robinson Road property.

The shire asked Mr James why he had allegedly not sought approval to keep extra dogs before taking possession of the chihuahuas.

In a written response, Mr James explained he had been willed the pint-sized pooches two years ago from a deceased estate.

In a report to Woodanilling councillors, Deputy Shire CEO Sue Dowson explained the chihuahuas – named Sheba (aged 11), Snoopie (7), Phantom (7), Junior (7), Tich (7) and Little Bear (11) – were securely fenced and that registrations for the dogs had been paid.

While Woodanilling’s local dog law bans the keeping of more than two adult canines, shire councillors on February 20 unanimously agreed to permit Mr James to keep the chihuahuas until October 31.

This is on the condition that if the number of chihuahuas decreases for any reason, shire permission be sought for any replacement dog.

Deputy Shire President Trevor Young absented from voting after advising he was personally connected to Mr James.

After declaring a proximity interest, Shire CEO Belinda Knight left the council chambers – which like Mr James and his six chihuahuas, are located on Robinson Road – while debate on the diminutive dish-lickers ensued.

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Frankland’s mystery man

TWO Frankland River women have made a heart-felt bid to learn the identity of a mystery man who swept into the local country club, paid his membership dues and vanished without a trace.

With trepidation, The Weekender responded to the pictured ‘personal ad’ placed recently by Frankland District Country Club staffers Laura Adams and Emma Haynes in The Franklander newsletter.

After we identified ourselves, as per journalistic protocol, Ms Adams said she needed to remain tight-lipped on the brand of cigarettes and beer the man bought, unless, of course, “you are the gentleman we’re after”.

“We had a payment that we couldn’t account for that was taken over the bar and there wasn’t a receipt,” she explained.

“It was just some random fellow who came in, paid his membership, bought some smokes, bought a beer and that’s all we’ve got to go on.

“We were just trying to get some attention so we could formally acknowledge his membership.”

Ms Adams said the “handsome stranger”, whose appearance she could not actually recall, had been coy to date, with the only response from two issues of The Franklander received from mocking mates of the two women.

If you think your choice of beer and ciggies measures up to Ms Adams’ and Haynes’ expectations, you can close the triangle by calling 9855 2310.

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Publican banned for five years

THE sole licensee of the Ongerup Hotel from April 2009 to October 2017 has been banned from running pubs for five years and fined $10,000 after serving alcohol past the hotel’s mandated closing time to a man who later crashed a four-wheel-drive whose passenger was killed.

In her written decision of February 21, Liquor Commission of Western Australia Presiding Member Mara Barone noted that at 7.27pm on December 3, 2015, John Robert Hooper and Rodney Spencer began drinking at the hotel in the small Great Southern town.

In facts accepted by licensee John William Guy, he and bartender Kaitlin Hilyard continued serving alcohol past midnight, in contravention of the hotel’s licence, until 1.53am.

At some stage, Mr Hooper left the hotel to sleep in his 4WD, and Mr Spencer followed soon after.

In her ruling, Ms Barone observed that Mr Spencer drove the 4WD, before crashing in the early hours of December 4, resulting in Mr Hooper’s death.

Emergency services staff described some people at the scene as clearly affected by alcohol, or intoxicated.

The attending police officer was concerned the situation could escalate, given the bystanders’ behaviour.

Ms Hilyard told police that Guy had told her not to speak to police, and then said that, if asked, she should say she finished work at midnight and had a drink behind the hotel before leaving for home.

Guy did not admit he told Ms Hilyard those things.

On February 28 last year, Guy pleaded guilty in Katanning Magistrates Court to 16 charges of trading outside permitted hours, and one count of permitting a person to take liquor from licensed premises in an unauthorised manner.

He was fined a total of $1500 for those offences.

Guy had been a licensee of the hotel for 23 years, including a period as sole licensee from April 2009 to October 2017.

Ms Barone fined him $10,000 and banned him from running a hotel for five years.

On behalf of Guy, his lawyers, Dwyer Durack, said: “We have no instructions to make any comments to the press”.

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Campsite arson suspected

A TOYOTA Landcruiser worth $68,000 was gutted in a suspiciously-lit fire at the Cosy Corner campsite, near Kronkup, in the very early hours of Tuesday morning.

Albany Police Acting Detective Sergeant Chris Macaulay said that after the owners of the silver 2008 (200 series) Landcruiser went to sleep in their caravan in the camping ground, the vehicle’s alarm was activated just after midnight.

“The couple were woken up by the alarm going off, and the female had got out of the caravan and located her car on fire,” he said.

“The partner’s come out and they’ve tried to extinguish the vehicle but it’s basically overwhelmed them, and they’ve then called the fire brigade.

Acting Det Sgt Macaulay said the couple had been looking after the campsite for the past month, which on Monday night was housing quite a few campers.

He said the $68,000 4WD was completely destroyed, and the couple’s Regal Commander caravan valued at $120,000 was also significantly damaged.

“They’re very lucky, to be honest,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for the car alarm being activated, it could have been a different story for them.”

He said a full jerrycan that was sitting near the Landcruiser, and scrub around the campsite, escaped the flames.

The overall value of damage at the campsite is yet to be determined, but police believe it may be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Local volunteer firefighters extinguished the blaze, and Albany police, detectives and forensic officers attended the campsite to investigate.

Acting Det Sgt Macaulay said police believed the fire had been deliberately lit.

Detectives are seeking information about vehicles that may have been moving around the Cosy Corner and Lower Denmark Roads between 11pm and 1am.

Anyone with relevant information can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Building bridge for peace

TODAY is International Women’s Day, and to celebrate, the Albany Soroptimists and the Albany Women’s Centre will meet on the pedestrian footbridge on Stirling Terrace at noon for the Join Me on the Bridge event.

Albany Soroptimist Pam Leamon has been a member for 36 years and said this year would mark the second time Albany has hosted a Join Me on the Bridge event.

Ms Leamon said the event began in Africa a few years ago, when two women’s groups met on a bridge connecting Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Their countries were victim to the atrocities of war, so they decided to come together to stand up for peace and for an end to violence against women.

This year’s Albany bridge event will also be the launching pad for the 2018 Albany Women’s Centre Kare Kits, designed to help the women’s refuge by providing toiletries, clothes and other necessities to women escaping unsafe homes and relationships.

Fellow Soroptimist Janet McArtney said women often arrive at the women’s centre with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“People come to the centre with nothing,” she said.

“Some are lucky and can pack a few things, but most can’t.

“The Kare Kits and donations can help them set themselves up again, and with things like helping pay for a first rent, or helping pay for their car to be fixed.”

You can join the Albany female rights activists on the footbridge at noon today and catch up for lunch with them after their photo time at 12.15pm.

The Kare Kit donation drive will continue until April 14 and donations can be dropped off at AnglicareWA Albany office, Vancouver Arts Centre, Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre, NAB Albany, Leading Edge Computers, Bendigo Bank Mt Barker, NAB Denmark and Western Workwear.

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Free trade deal boost

A FREE trade deal expected to be signed in Chile today has the potential to drive more business to the Great Southern and South West regions, says Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson.

Mr Wilson said Australia’s agricultural industry would have unprecedented access to international markets when the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership comes into effect.

He said the deal, expected to be signed by member nations in Chile today, would give farmers in O’Connor new and improved access to markets in 10 countries around the Pacific Rim.

The agreement will see the immediate elimination of tariffs on sheep meat exports to all participating countries, with the exception of Mexico, which will phase in the removal of tariffs.

Tariffs on beef in Japan will be reduced over the next decade, while tariffs in Canada, Peru and Mexico will be eliminated during the same period.

Mr Wilson said wine producers would benefit from the removal or reduction of tariffs on Australian products in Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam and Peru.

CEO of the Wine Industry Association of Western Australia Larry Jorgensen told The Weekender that the state’s wine industry welcomed the agreement.

“Removing tariff and non-tariff barriers to free trade in an established market such as Canada and developing markets in our region will allow WA producers to further grow profitable export markets,” he said.

Tariffs on Australian seafood sold in Vietnam will be eliminated immediately and phased out in Japan and Mexico over the next 15 years.

CEO of the WA Fishing Industry Council John Harrison said the “elimination of any trade barriers is always welcomed”.

“The extent to which Western Australia can capitalise on seafood exports is yet to be determined,” he added.

Mr Wilson said the agreement presented a major opportunity for local businesses to become internationally competitive and expand their operations.

“A very significant portion of Western Australia’s commodity exports originate from O’ Connor, and this deal has huge potential to drive growth in our local industries,” he said.

“It will create better market conditions for WA businesses, giving them access to new markets and higher levels of demand on a scale that we’ve never seen.

“We’ve experienced a massive growth in our exports to China since we signed the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement – for example, in a nine-month period last year, bottled wine exports grew 129 per cent to $498 million.”

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